What's it cost to run a band ?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by iancwilx, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I wonder what finance is necessary to run a basic brass band.
    Just what is the cost of essentials, and what is deemed essential ?

    Would concert fees and fundraising activities (Raffles etc) support a band assuming it withdrew from expensive contest activities (unless these were paid for separately by members contributions.) and the members agreed to play just to pursue their musical hobby.

    - Wilkie
  2. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    One of if not the biggest cost for setting up any ensemble is the library.
  3. TubaPete

    TubaPete Member

    How long is a piece of string?

    A quick search on the Charities Commission website suggests that at least one band had an annual income of £325,000 for one year of recently filed accounts (they spent £250,000 the same year).

    At the other end of the scale an established band with it's own bandroom, a good library, local players and a cheap conductor might be able to run on as little as £6,000 a year.

    I'd estimate that a good First/Championship Section band would be looking at £1,000 to £1,500 per month - assuming traveling expenses are only paid to students/unwaged people.

  4. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Great question, the answer as you say is what you'd define as essential. To consider:

    MD paid or not
    Maintaining a full set of instruments
    Uniforms / other equipment

    It's possible (speaking as an ex-treasurer) to run a band for a few £1000 / year, but the band in question didn't have a building fund and didn't spend a lot on coaches or contest fees. I'd imagine it would cost a lot more to run a viable top section band that attended major contests if you only take into account the costs of accommodation and travel for 30 people 5 or 6 times a year.
  5. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    We are a 5 year old non-contesting band, and are lucky to rent a school hall for a minimal £5 a week, = £250 a year. This is funded by a £1 a head subscription, reduced for students and UB40s, and free for the MD.

    Then we have insurance at about £300 a year - you need £5 million Public Liabiity Insurance to satisfy some Councils. This is found by bucket collections at a small supermarket at Christmas.

    We do not charge for our services relying upon a donations from event organisers, and this is used for the purchase of music - second hand pieces at £5 a time from JP, or three for the price of two from Bernaerts (January every year).

    There were one or two (non-annual) capital expenditures for second hand instruments and uniforms, but other than that there is only a small amount for stationery and postage.

    So I would think that you could run a band in similar circumstances for about £1k a year, plus a lot of goodwill and deep pockets from generous players!

    Bude Metric Brass
  6. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    We're a top / 1st section yoyo band, entering 4 or 5 contests + whit friday. Only 2 coach uses. Minimal travel expenses paid, but a steady supply of good quality promoted/self promoted gigs.

    Our annual turnover is around £30,000.
  7. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    So you were not paying attention at those AGM's either then Ian? You know when the balance sheets were passed around? :biggrin: I was usually nodding off by that time, and you probably were giving more attention to female percussivists :rolleyes:.
  8. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Have a look at the "shock top name departures at grimey" thread - I had a browse through charities commission pages for several top name bands and also a fair smattering of other bands and most bands, whatever section, seemed to have an annual inc\exp of between 7000 and 15000 with the "top" bands being somewhat more.

    I was reprimanded when quoting the £325k figure (see TubaPetes post above) because this includes the transfer of assets (instruments etc) from the former "UK Coal" version of the same band ;) hence why the income was 325 but expenditure only a quarter of a million - which although it sounds a lot isn't really that much for such a high standard organisation.
  9. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    Well you've got to get your priorities right haven't you ?

    - Wilkie
  10. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    We're a 3rd section band very lucky to have our own land and bandroom, but that incurs costs of it's own.

    Roughly - Costs, Insurance (instrumnent, Public liable, buildings and contents), Coucil tax, Heating, Lighting - So the band could turn up twice a week + conductor comes to around £1800 -

    Band paying subs £1.50 per week, from a full band = 2016 a year.

    These figures are slightly dated now - but, the band can stand still and survive without being out there playing!

    Library costs, insturment repairs, new uniforms etc are then paid for out of the monies raised from concerts. We don't charge the earth, and don't do too many gigs, but we do ok finacially - mostly down to the brillaint work of our last tresurer (LIZ) and currnet treasurer (Sally).
  11. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I play for a 1st section band and we have to turn over roughly £12-15k a year. This is mostly made up of rent for our bandroom, MD's fees and the usual sundry costs*. We don't usually have coaches for contests (only in exceptional circumstances) or pay for players accomodation (though on occasion this has been subsidised). We pay subs and have various other ways of fund-raising (200 club, lottery bonus ball etc), but a good deal of that 15k has to come from our concerts and engagements. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do some jobs you'd rather not!!

    *Other costs include maintaining 1 1/2 sets of instruments (actually we're expanding this for our training band), a full set of uniforms, including walking outs (which we audit every year to check that everyone has jackets that are at least somewhere near the right size), and maintaining / updating a fairly extensive library, as well as the costs Garry lists above - insurance in particular.

    We've just recently been granted charity status and are looking into ways of using this to help with our fund-raising efforts (giftaid etc).
  12. Income
    - Swearing/ Split notes box will earn you atleast £40 per practice
    - Band Raffle £20 per practice
    - £500 monthly tip offs by non band members to run/sack the band
    - £1000 quarterly compensation for your band being accused of racism/treason/indecent exposure at entertainment contests

    - £500 monthly alcohol entitlement
    - £20 per month replacing broken percussion sticks
    - £20,000 per year to attend the Europeans

    and the list goes on....
  13. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Your sanity.
  14. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Interesting to note that few posts mention the "cost" of instruments - I suppose most bands in the last 10 years will have had the advantage of lottery funding to cover a full or partial set but there is the replacement cost to consider at some time in the future.

    At KSB we certainly haven't put aside say £3,000.00+ a year for something like a 15 year life replacement and would hope to secure future lottery funding for such an item. We have however set aside annual profits for a future building project for our band rehearsal facility - we currently pay £1000 a year for the use of rooms and the local Church Hall.

    Income over recent years (including subs) has been around the £8,000.00 with expenditure of £6,000.00 to £7,000.00. So if you could get your hands on a defenct bands library, uniforms and instruments and you had 30 players you could run a band for £200 a year subs. Any additional money earned could then got to covering your contest costs etc.
  15. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    25 Brass players plus 3 drummers plus 2 people to make the tea = 30 people

    2 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, plus 3 contest days at 8 hours each, an extra 10 hours carolling and perhaps 8 x 2 hour concerts = 150 hours

    National Minimum Wage = £5.73\h

    30 x 150 x 5.73 = £ 25,785 in wages, unless some of the players count as 'skilled' in which case you may need to pay them more ;) or are members of the MU (in which case you'll have to pay them a lot more ;) ;)
  16. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Regarding instruments, a new band could go down the road of all members using their own instruments (are Cornerstone following this route?). This idea is aimed more at established players of a decent standard that are more likely to own, or desire to own their own instrument. Uniforms also could easily be acquired by members - a simple waistcoat to go with the standard black trousers etc.
    A local church hall or the like could be approached for rehearsal facilities in return for a few "free" concerts.
    The repertoire would be a bit of a cost, but could be slowly collected.

    Just a few thoughts.
  17. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Or it was run by local government:

    28 players? Way too many. Cut it down to 4 permanent and 6 contractors. Then employ 4 managers to motivate them. All overseen by a Director of Brass Band Services on £150k.:biggrin:
  18. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    and of course the one thing you'll need and the hardest to find will be the players. Now that's a whole differnt kettle of fish - what standard? who gets on with who - or doesnt. Deciding what it is the band wants to do - contest and concert mix etc. So the cost of running one is probably the least problematic - add the people to the equation and that's when it can all go so terribly wrong ;)
  19. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I think Steve Butler has proved you can run a band for nowt. Dosen't need to contest and do all that merlarkey. But you could get 25 players with there own instuments, rehearse in someones living room. Maybe they play for other bands?? Just a thought, I know nothing about them. But isn't that how a band like boobs and brass get to together on a shoe string budget??
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    Good point, all they need are the bare essentials !

    - Wilkie

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